Deck park's hanging garden is built to withstand storms

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by ERIC VALADEZ

WFAA

Posted on October 23, 2012 at 5:34 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 10:05 AM

Klyde Warren Park

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DALLAS — Take a stroll through the newest park in Dallas, and you'll find lush landscape.

Klyde Warren Park has a manicured lawn flanked by a children's area and a performance pavilion, as well as water features.

But landscape architect Jim Burnett said this green space is unlike almost anything else in the country.

"We are on top of an active freeway with eight lanes below us moving," he said.

Above the traffic sit 322 trees perfectly plotted and aligned 20 feet apart. The trees are planted in just four feet of nutrient-rich soil.

A special Styrofoam helps anchor the 904 shrubs and 3,292 plants populating the park.

There's also an irrigation system buried in the deck to keep the landscape thriving.

"Building a garden hanging garden 17 feet above an active freeway is a technical trick," Burnett said.

The landscape is designed to withstand the scorching summer heat and the bitter winter.

Severe weather poses its own challenges. Just this spring, North Texas saw 17 tornadoes tear through the region, sending 18-wheelers flying into the air, debris launched like missiles.

Trees are often the first to go in storms, but the trees at Klyde Warren Park are tied down with concrete and steel cables.

Burnett said they have already had their first test. "We already experienced a lot of high winds, and none of the trees have snapped and blown over, so it's working," he said.

Construction crews drilled straight down next to the highway to keep runoff from the rain out of the tunnel below.

The design of Klyde Warren Park may be unique, but what you see — and what you feel — will be true to Texas. Burnett said it may even spur some ideas.

"I think it will be a nice demonstration area for people to see how they can use these same types of plants in their home gardens," he said.

E-mail evaladez@wfaa.com

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